This is the story of the INTERCAL Reconstruction Massacree, an essay in risk versus skepticism and verification in software development with a nod in the general direction of Arlo Guthrie. About three hours ago as I began to write, I delivered on a promise to probably my most distinguished customer ever – Dr. Donald Knuth.… Continue reading Risk, Verification, and the INTERCAL Reconstruction Massacree
Some comments on my last post sidetracked into a discussion of evolution, teleology and design and under what circumstances the language of “purpose” or “intention” can reasonably applied to a natural system. I’ve had a new insight while thinking about that discussion, so I’m going to write about it a bit more. And yes, I… Continue reading Three kinds of teleology
I have a confession to make. I buy “organic” food, and I feel rather guilty about it. My wife and I were in the local Wegman’s the other day (Wegman’s is worth a rant by itself; I’ll get back to Wegman’s) poking around in the “Nature’s Market” section where they keep the organic food. “Aha!”… Continue reading Organic guilt
I saw The Expendables, Sylvester Stallone’s I-want-to-be-a-blockbuster action flick, just after it opened. I found it a curiously listless affair, considering all the star power and special-effects money lavished on it, but it’s taken me a week to realize why. Stallone, who wrote and directed and stars in the film, misses his target by a… Continue reading Expended
Being admired by lots of open-source geeks can be useful in unexpected ways. Probably the most extreme example I can recall is the Linux user group that once asked me to speak at a conference in Kansas City and rewarded me by paying for the ammunition at a local gun range where I got to… Continue reading I cast a wish into the air
Oracle has just sued Google over implementation methods used in the Dalvik virtual machine at the heart of the Android operating system. The complaint alleges knowing and willful infringement of seven patents originally issued to Sun Microsystems. Oracle has retained Boies, Schiller & Flexner. One wonders if they’ll be any more competent than they were… Continue reading Oracle sues Google over Java implementation methods.
One of my commenters speculated as follows: Perhaps I overestimate him, but I suspect that without Eric our choice would be Richard Stallman or Bill Gates without much in between. That isnâ€™t a pretty picture. Maybe Linus Torvalds would have help fill the vacuum, or perhaps someone else would have stepped up. Because I think… Continue reading A world without “ESR”
I hold in my hand an extract of a draft manuscript paper-mailed to me by Donald Knuth. It is titled “TPK in INTERCAL” and it has a handwritten note from Don offering a bug bounty of 0x$1.00. In it, I am quoted three times. If my grin were any wider, it would hurt. I believe… Continue reading Shameless name-dropping
In what threatens to become a semi-regular series, I give you a plea for help that landed in my mailbox this morning, anonymized, and my response. Querent’s situation is not unique; what’s unusual is his ability to self-diagnose and his willingness to ask for help. I have diagnosed myself with what you described (here) as… Continue reading Breaking free of the curse of the gifted
CNET reported a few days ago (while I was busy at the World Boardgaming Championships, or I’d have blogged on this sooner) that Android hits top spot in U.S. smartphone market. There’s a boatload of bad news in the numbers for Apple fans, but no surprises for anyone who has been following my strategic analyses… Continue reading Android the Inexorable
I just saw Inception. It was brilliant, and I’m astonished that it got made in Hollywood. It’s not a movie you can watch with your brain turned off – and that’s its glory.